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Donald Trump Biography

From the Apprentice to the White House - Donald Trump, A Biography

Get to know how the notorious billionaire Donald Trump went from 'The Donald' to President Trump. Here's an insight into his life that will definitely have you scratching your head.
Anish Chandy
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Donald John Trump aka The Donald was born on June 14, 1946, in New York. He was educated at the military academy. Once he graduated from there, he contemplated becoming an actor or director but then dropped the idea. Donald Trump joined the Fordham University. Two years later, he successfully applied to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. After college he joined Elizabeth Trump & Son and assisted his father Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump. He later renamed the company as the Trump Organization.
Early Career and Business Ventures
The beginning of Donald Trump, the consummate deal-maker, was at his father's office in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, New York. He credits his father for being an able guide and mentor. He said, "My father was my mentor and I learned a tremendous amount about every aspect of the construction industry from him." Then, Trump was tired with small deals after five years in Brooklyn. He wanted a piece of the gold available in Manhattan.
When he arrived in Manhattan, he was broke, but he knew the importance of contacts with influential people. The best place to meet these people was at exclusive clubs, where an entry was restricted to people like Trump. But he managed to slickly charm the management committee of one of the clubs into giving him membership. He used this opportunity to make contacts with the rich and famous of the city.
Today, his businesses span many industries. He is the owner of the largest single piece of land in New York City. It is a prime 100-acre piece of land along the Hudson River from 59th Street to 72nd Street, the biggest development ever approved by the New York City Planning Commission. Other premium buildings owned by him are Trump Parc, Trump Palace, Trump Plaza, 610 Park Avenue, Trump World Tower, and Trump Park Avenue. The names of these buildings indicate Trump's fetish for naming his buildings after himself. He has also converted a few buildings into top-notch hotels.
Apart from real estate businesses, Trump has always had a proclivity for attractive women. He owns part of the broadcast rights to Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA Pageants. He also has his own hit TV show on NBC called "The Apprentice". One of the reasons for his success has been his penchant to go against the tide. When the competition was heating up in the real estate business, he raised the prices. But it has not always been a cakewalk for Trump. The real estate slump in the early '90s meant that he could not pay off bank loans worth a whopping $2 billion. Trump was then forced into bankruptcy. And, he was back where he started, with practically nothing in hand.
Slowly but surely his negotiating skills and trusty instincts brought him back from the brink. He wrote a best-seller called "Trump: The Art of the Deal". The sequel, "Trump: Surviving at the Top" was equally successful. But the book that outsold both these was, "Trump: The Art of the Comeback". By this time, Trump started viewing life differently after his huge revival was complete. This was epitomized in his fourth book, which was called "The America We Deserve." It addressed various problems that plagued American society then. But Trump was back to his capitalistic best when he wrote his last book titled, "How To Get Rich: Big Deals from the Star of The Apprentice."
He is infamous for an addiction to beautiful women for a very long time. His marriage to Ivana Trump ended in divorce in 1990. He then married Marla Maples in 1993. They filed for divorce in 1999. He has had four children from his two previous marriages. The Trump wedding saga continued again in 2005 when he married Slovenian model Melania Knauss at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. They have a son together, Barron Trump.
Also, he has been very active with various charitable organizations. It's said that Trump once paid off the entire mortgage of a car mechanic's home who once sorted out a problem with his limousine. He made his foray into politics while being a part of Ross Perot's Reform Party. While campaigning however, he said in his characteristic style "I'm not a big fan of the handshake," he had told US TV channel NBC. "I think it's barbaric, shaking hands, you catch colds, you catch the flu, you catch this, you catch all sorts of things."
Monetary Troubles
1989 - Taj Mahal Casino
Recession had an impact on Trump's wealth as well, as his $1 billion dollar worth casino, The Taj Mahal went into severe debts, as he couldn't afford to pay off the loans. However, banks and bond owners, decided to restructure his debts in order to minimize any further loss of money. The bargain was set on the terms that Trump give up control of about 50% of his share in exchange of lesser interest rates and more time to pay off loans. The debts were finally cleared in 1991.
1992 - Trump Plaza Hotel
Trump was required to file a bankruptcy protection plan, after a failure to pay off debts. He had to forsake 49% of his stake in favor of Citibank and other lenders. He retained his position as chief executive of the plaza minus his pay and had to pay off $1 million and more to the lenders.
1994 - Trump Shuttle
By this time Trump had a personal debt of $900 million, which he had to pay off, including a majority of his business debt which was around $3.5 billion. He had to sell off his ownership in the airline Trump Shuttle after repeated losses. He however purchased a large part of the West Side Rail Yards without retaining ownership on the property. The actual owners gave him construction and management fees along with the rights to add his name to some of the property.
Apart from these Trump has given his name to other developers who used it to promote their projects. He has also marketed his name on brands such as Trump Financial which is a mortgage firm involved in residential sales. He also owns a business education enterprise, a magazine, a line of fragrances and various accessories like watches and clothes for men. He also has a vodka brand named after him and owns a few golf courses.
Journey to the White House
So, how did a billionaire businessman become the President of America, almost in a blink? Well, all of his political ambitions came to light during Larry King Live, where he discussed the possibility of joining politics and the eventual run for presidency. His support for Minnesota Governor, Jesse Ventura back in 2000 made waves in American politics. And, believe it or not, he once made huge donations to the Clinton Foundation, when Hillary was the Senator of New York. But this amicable relationship between Trump and Clinton was definitely short-lived due to being on opposite sides in the presidential campaign. Also, his main grouse with Bill Clinton was that the torrid love affair with Monica Lewinsky was not even worth the trouble because she was not attractive enough. This colossal blunder was just an appetizer of what was to come.
Later in 2012, he also backed the Republican Candidate, Mitt Romney during his run for President. But again, things turned sour when Trump established himself as a presidential candidate in June 2015. In March 2016, Romney of course branded him as unfit to run the country, when he had only recently sung his praises for creating so many jobs for the American people and even once said it was an honor to work with him.
However, despite his serial gaffes on immigration, Mexico, and women, his popularity rose among many. It's kind of safe to say that the public has something of a love-hate relationship with him. And who can forget the scorching presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Trump that smashed TV ratings like never before. Around 84 million people had tuned in to watch them fight it out and even surprisingly compliment each other on 9th October 2016. Exactly a month later, he won the presidency and his long journey to the White House was successful.
This announcement has left the country and the rest of the world absolutely stunned, causing people to declare, 'God bless America' or maybe even 'God save America'. So, which one will it be? Well, only time will tell.